Atlanta rapper Lil Marlo has died in what investigators suspect was a targeted shooting on Saturday evening. Quality Control Music announced Rudolph “Marlo” Johnson’s passing in an Instagram post, describing the rising star as, “a man of great talent who feared nothing.”
Johnson gained notoriety in 2017 when he teamed up with Lil Baby on “2 The Hard Way.” Earlier this year, Lil Marlo released his project “1st & 3rd” featuring Future, Gucci Mane, and Lil Baby. Lil Yachty shared on Instagram that he and Lil Marlo had worked on four songs together on the morning of his death.
Time reports that police officers responded to a single-car wreck on Interstate 285 in Atlanta at about 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night and found the driver, later identified as Johnson, dead inside his vehicle. According to the report, investigators believe Johnson was shot while driving and was the intended target of the shooting.
“At this time, investigators believe the victim was the intended target of the gunfire and they are working to determine the circumstances surrounding the shooting,” a police statement reads.
Police reportedly identified Johnson as 30-years-old, however, his record label put his date of birth 1993, which would make him around 27.
Marlo was raised in Atlanta’s rough Bowen Homes housing projects. Jacoby Hudson, a longtime friend and Atlanta defense lawyer, told the New York Times that Marlo had just left a Bankhead block party late Saturday when he was killed.
“It’s heartbreaking, because I told Rudy it would end like this if he didn’t change the people he was around,” he said. “He didn’t let the music save him. He still wanted to be in the neighborhood. He cared about people and he took care of people. He loved too many people, and his loyalty is probably what got him killed.”